The Supreme Court on Thursday invoked the Right to Freedom of Speech & Expression granted in the Constitution, and ordered the state governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh to lift the ban on screening of the movie 'Padmaavat'.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra reminded the state governments of their obligation to protect the fundamental right granted in the Constitution by ensuring law and order.
I have two points to make here. One, the country is run by rule of law. The Central Board of Film Certification is the competent authority to decide whether a particular film is meant for public viewing or not. If the CBFC clears a film, and the state governments impose ban on its screening in the name of maintaining law and order, then this is not a right step. If outfits like Karni Sena threaten to carry out violence at cinema theatres and intimidate cinemahall owners and audience, then it is not acceptable.
Two, I had seen the movie exactly two months ago, on November 17, and I had then clearly aid that the Rajput community will feel proud once it views the character of Rani Padmaavati in totality. There is not a single scene which shows Padmaavati with Sultan Alauddin Khilji. There is nothing in the film which goes against Rajput pride.
The Supreme Court on Thursday also said that the movie was shown to historians and other representatives of society, before it was granted certificate, and there was no need to protest. My view is that, if the state governments bow before the will of a handful of people bent on creating unrest, then it will send a wrong message. It will set a wrong precedent.
I again appeal to Karni Sena to watch the movie first and then air their opinion. I am confident that the Rajputs who will watch the film, will come out of the cinemahalls, with their heads held high, and those who are presently abusing the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, will hug him with respect.
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